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It’s Time to Stop Flying Blind: How Not Looking at the Brain Leads to Missed Diagnoses,Failed Treatments, and Dangerous Behaviors

Daniel G. Amen, MD
Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine

It was late at night in April 1995 when I got a call from my sister-in-law, Sherry, who told me that my 9-year-old nephew, Andrew, had attacked a little girl on the base- ball field that day for no particular reason.
“He hurt her,” she said crying.
Horrified, I asked Sherry what else was going on with Andrew.
“He’s not right,” she said. “He’s mean and never smiles anymore. After the incident, I found two pictures he had drawn. In one, he was hanging from a tree. In the other, he was shooting other children.”
I told Sherry I wanted to see Andrew the next day. Most child psychiatrists would have prescribed powerful medica- tions to sedate his aggressive impulses. Maybe they would have recommended psychotherapy. I knew I needed to look at his brain first. At the time, it was a radical idea. Unfortunately, it still is.

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